Tropical Beach Ceviche

ivoryhut tropical beach ceviche

Ceviche is basically raw seafood “cooked” in an acid such as vinegar or citrus. We call it kilawin in Tagalog and it is a popular dish in the Philippines. Our cuisine is rich in seafood and understandably so, with over 7,000 islands and the fourth longest coastline in the world (our 22,500+ miles of coast is almost double that of the US). And so it shouldn’t be a surprise that there are as many versions of ceviche as there are different ways of making adobo.

So when I saw a tweet from Chef Rick Bayless a few weeks ago that read like some mysterious secret code that looked like ceviche, I took notice.

Crazy Pizza Bread

ivoryhut crazy pizza bread Lindsay Olives

When Rachael of Fuji Mama asked me if I’d be interested in developing a recipe for Lindsay Olive’s Back-To-School Challenge, I immediately said yes. See, at first all I heard was “Rachael…Fuji Mama…Lindsay Olives…” and of course, at some point someone mentioned food. What was there to think about? I love Rachael, I love olives, and olives are food. It was a no-brainer as far as I was concerned.

Then, of course, the whole “challenge” part of the deal suddenly started sinking in. For one, it’s a back-to-school theme. Which means kids. Kids who might start crying if they open up their lunchbox and find something they really don’t want to eat. And as much as I love olives now, I wasn’t a big fan of them when I was a kid. Growing up, I had great appreciation for recipes that disguised the olives. I could not, for the life of me, understand how my mom could snack on olives and appear to enjoy them without gagging.


The last two weeks have seen me busier than I’ve ever been in a long time. From a weekend beach wedding shoot to re-designing my blog to a little potluck that we put together, I’ve barely had time to sleep, let alone write.

While the never-ending activities have left me with a deficit of words, what I do have is a surplus of photos. And I’d really love to show you some photos from the wedding but that’ll come later. The bride gets first dibs on seeing the shots.

Instead, I’m going to show you photos of that wee little event we organized: the Big Summer Potluck. The wonderful Anderson family of Three Many Cooks graciously welcomed everyone to their beautiful home for this event. I am told that I spoke a bit about photography, and that I might have even made a little sense. My mom was in attendance, bless her, and although I figured it was for moral support, something tells me that she was there to block all exits in case I decided to make a run for it.

Corn with coconut milk (Ginataang mais)

ivoryhut Kulinarya corn with coconut milk

When this month’s Kulinarya Cooking Club theme was announced, I was incredibly excited. The theme was gata, which is Filipino for coconut milk. Anything made with coconut milk was fair game, and the posts so far have covered both savory and sweet bases. With the wealth of choices available, I expected to be overwhelmed by the task of choosing just one. However, my mind pretty much made itself up for me early on, and despite my attempts to steer it toward more creative lines, it stubbornly held on to its first choice.


Change. They say it’s the only thing you can count on in this world, and yet people have mixed feelings about it. Dread, eagerness, fear, hatred, relief, or even indifference. Often, the emotion tied to it depends on the change itself and how it comes to our door. A change for the better that comes unexpectedly is commonly called a “welcome change.” A turn for the worse that drops on us suddenly is called … well, it’s called lots of names, many of which I can’t repeat here.

Just as often, how we react to change depends on its source. If we initiate it, then there is some measure of control, and from that, a measure of comfort. If we are blindsided, then sometimes, instinct takes over.

But not all change is apparent. There are instances when the change happens ever so slowly, gradually making itself at home, steadily and incrementally establishing itself until you wake up one day, suddenly realizing what happened, not quite sure how it all came down.

I’m in a reflective mood about change these days because of this.

ivoryhut haircut

See that? That’s almost 9 inches of hair. My hair. 9 inches that crept up on me without me realizing it. Who knows how much extra shampoo it forced me to buy? Not to mention all those extra minutes trying to towel dry the unruly mane (believe it, my hair is anything but ruly). Life was so crazy and bigger changes were happening all around me that this little half-inch-a-month change went on unnoticed.

When I finally noticed it, I admit, instinct took over. I immediately went to take care of it, but then remembered that I left my samurai swords in the Philippines (yes, I sooo have a samurai sword collection). And then I remembered I was a grown up, and made an appointment with my hairdresser who had all but forgotten who I was. She probably thought I got deported for trying to smuggle swords into the country.

My call dashed her hopes.

ivoryhut haircut

With one neat snip of her shears, this change that crept up on me was gone. Just like that. And as a bonus, I learned that it was long enough to donate to help children with cancer. So my story has a happy ending—a better one that I expected.

Until I spotted this.

ivoryhut hair

It’s these slow, stealthy, cumulative changes that get us all the time. Hair, weight, apathy, resentment, guilt, or even regret—they all have the tendency to sneak up on us and keep growing. Sometimes that’s okay, but sometimes, we’ve got to start hacking away.

ivoryhut hair

I’m here for you if you need me.


about me

I write, cook, play music, and make pictures. Not necessarily in that order. I was born and raised in the Philippines, and it shows. That means I eat rice with every meal, love my cousins like my own siblings, and firmly believe that avocados are best eaten with cream and sugar.

If you want to learn more about me, here are 43 things I'd like to do. Here's a little something about my name, in case you were wondering. Here are some other places you'll find me:

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One summer night in 2010, our house burned to the ground and we lost everything we had. This is the story of what happened and how life and hope can always rise from ashes.

I'm proud to belong to an amazing community of Filipino food lovers. Together, we celebrate this often-neglected Asian cuisine, sharing our family's treasured recipes and discovering new ones along the way. This is our club.
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